Tag Archive | Courage

Writing my Story

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I have been working on writing the story of my marriage.  Even though it has been six years since I left him, I still think this is part of my healing journey.  Those 23 years that I was with him hugely impacted me on every level. And my kids are still sorting through the rubble of the damage they experienced. 

For some reason, though, my story just keeps getting saved in my drafts. I am finding it hard to publish. And that is with glossing over the worst of it. This quick summarization of 23 years is missing so much of the intensity that I lived with every day.

Am I still afraid of him? Yes, I suppose I am. And, it’s such a vulnerable thing to put the ugly parts of your life on display. I invested a lot all those years in presenting a good image to the world that we were a happy family.

For now, I will keep writing since that’s good for me. And maybe I will be brave enough to publish it.

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It Matters

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Fear. It always seems to pop up in my life when I am not prepared for it.

At first, when it shows up, like an unwelcome house guest knocking at my door,  I get irritated.

But, I go to the door anyway to see what it wants. Well, to be truthful, sometimes I let the knocking go on for awhile, hoping it will go away. It never does. Fear is persistent.

That’s because fear always shows up when it’s message is about something that matters.

So eventually,  I get tired of the knocking and go to the door.

“Yes? What do you want?” I ask Fear.

And Fear proceeds to tell me what matters. Fear reminds me that there is something important in my life that I need to deal with.

I  close the door and take a deep breath.

There is another knock.

I open the door cautiously, concerned that Fear is returning to give me more to think about.

I am delighted to see Courage show up at my door!

“Remember me?” Courage says. “I’m always here. You just forget to let me in sometimes. ”

I  swing the door wide open and let Courage in. And right behind Courage comes Faith and Joy, along for the ride.

I got this. Even if it hurts, it’s because it matters. I have all I need. I got this.

Always Vulnerable, Still Brave

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For some reason , I think I was hoping that the more I understood and embraced the importance of vulnerability in my life, I wouldn’t have to keep facing it so much.

Wrong! I am chuckling a bit at myself about this.

The truth is, vulnerability is ever present if we choose to be in any relationships at all. It is inescapable.  Unless we want shallow relationships with very limited intimacy, it is just part of the deal. Being close to someone makes us vulnerable.

It’s interesting how many people have said to me that they don’t know how I can put myself out there on the dating world.  The truth is, it’s been so good for me. It has created so much personal growth for me to keep facing vulnerability over and over and over again.

Yes, it’s hard. But, the courage it takes to keep going, learning, and growing is worth it to me.

Overcoming Fear

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It’s time.

Fear has had a hold on me for too long.

I wasn’t even aware how strong that hold was until now.

All around me there is suffering.  Illness, broken relationships, strained relationships, unhealthy choices, people hurting.

It seems everyone around me is hurting right now. I  have been praying every day for so many loved ones….and the list is growing.

It could easily fill me with fear.

Love often leads to loss. Actually, it always does. Even in relationships that don’t end, no one lives forever.  Loss is inevitable.

But, I don’t want to miss out on loving the amazing people in my life while I am blessed to have them. I don’t want to be closed to new people to love if they are  meant to bless my life…even if through a painful lesson.

No more fear.

This is going to be hard.

I need to trust.

Trust God. Trust myself. Trust others.

Vulnerability.

It always comes back to vulnerability.

Sigh.

It is the only way.

Here I go…

I am Enough

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This is a follow up to yesterday’s post.

After posting that, I met with a close friend.  She has known me since we were teenagers.  She also has known my ex-husband since I met him. She sang at my wedding 25 years ago. She saw the friend she once knew become a shell of the person I once was (while presenting an image that all was well….which she wanted believe ) and then emerge again after I left him. This friend, despite huge challenges in her own life at this time, still is there for me….we are there for each other. Because she has known me for so long and so well…and also knew my ex and the dynamics of my marriage, she has a way of bringing insight to things that is so incredibly helpful to me.

Two important things came out of that conversation for me:

1. I am still taking too much responsibility for anything that goes wrong in relationships with men. Even in my post yesterday, I did to some extent. I am only responsible for 50% of the communication. I am only responsible for my end. I might make mistakes in my communication,  but I am not responsible for what someone else hears. Other people have filters and emotional triggers from their past that create issues on their end. I can’t take responsibility for that.  Yet, I tend to.

2. The reason I tend to do this is because of how my marriage worked. Every issue that arose in my marriage. ..no matter how big or small…. was always my fault. Early in the marriage I used to try to raise my concerns or make it more equitable.  That resulted in a two hour lecture about all my faults and how I am too defensive and don’t take responsibility.  It always resulted in me apologizing. My apologies were usually not accepted. I was told they were not good enough.  So, then I would spend hours or days showing him how sorry I truly was by making it up to him. I  lived this pattern so long, for so many years that it became normal to me.

My brain became hard wired to believe that my needs don’t matter, it’s my job to make a man happy, that when I inevitably fail to do so… that’s my fault too, and that nothing I ever do to apologize or make amends for that will be good enough.

The deeply rooted belief that resulted: I am not enough.

I thought I dealt with all of this and was past it.

But, recent interactions with men…in which I found myself taking on 100% of the responsibility for miscommunication,  including their misinterpretation of things on their end….and then apologizing profusely. …. showed me I have more work to do.

I am enough.  I am human. I make mistakes. I am worthy of grace and forgiveness and should be honored with a willingness on the other part to own their part too. I am deserving and worthy of a willingness for someone to work through this with me and take responsibility for their part.  My apologies are enough. My attempts to have healthy relationships are enough. I am doing the best I can.  I am enough.

I need to stop allowing this pattern to continue.  I need to lovingly hold someone accountable for their part,  while honestly owning mine. I need to make sure anyone I enter into a relationship with is capable and willing to do this.

I have more work to do.

Courageous

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I must admit, I am getting tired of this particular courage.

But, what is the alternative?  It would be to hide, to avoid,  to never love again.  That is not who I am.

So, I will keep being brave. And when I am being hurt again, I will  let go….again.

Maybe one day there will be a risk that is worth it. Maybe not. I just know I can’t live without taking those risks. It’s who I am.

Free to Be Me

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I  have been on an interesting journey of self acceptance and self compassion.  It has been, at the same time, the most freeing and empowering journey,  while also being terrifying and challenging.

I am learning a lot about my true nature and who I am at my core. Instead of the constant judgements and recriminations I used to berate myself with, I am working on embracing who I am and learning to work with that.

I am learning that I function best when I take things slowly and take the time to plan and think through what I need to do. I used to judge myself so harshly for that. It seems to me that we live in a society that values the ambitious, decisive go-getters.  I value having people like that in my life too. We need them.

But, we also need the thinkers and planners. We need the ones who are behind the scenes considering every angle and taking action at a pace that works for them. People like me. We need to value those people too. I  need to value those people too. I need to value me.

My ex-husband often criticized this about me. He told me often that he needed me to be more decisive and action oriented. I  accepted his perspective that I was flawed in this way. I tried very hard for over twenty years to change my nature. I kept trying. I would get so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t make myself be different.  I struggled with anxiety and a constant sense of dislike towards myself.  I  developed patterns of self talk that were mean and even cruel towards myself.

In reality, when I work with my true nature…when I give myself time to think, consider, plan…. I  make good decisions and I accomplish a lot. Decisions that need to be made are made and I feel at peace with them. Actions that need to be taken are taken, within time frames that feel comfortable to me. There is no anxiety and no mean self talk. There is peace.

I have this week off from work. I had such ambitious plans for what I wanted to get done. But, instead I have been doing a lot of relaxing, thinking, journaling, reading, and planning. I found myself starting some mean self talk again. I am so glad I caught myself doing that. I don’t need to answer to anyone about how I spend my time. I am not going to be disapproved of any more. I am not going to be criticized any more. Unless I do it to myself! I  deserve better. I  deserve to love myself for who I am and value my true nature.

It has slowly dawned on me that what I need more than anything right now is exactly what I have been doing. It is not lazy to give my body,  mind, and spirit time to rest, reflect, and just be. It is healthy.

If I am true to that, the things I want to accomplish will get done ….at a time and pace that feels good to me. That will be much healthier and much more fulfilling for me.

Ahhhh….that  feels so much better. I am going to make some tea and go back to my book now. 🙂